With the premier of SyFy’s Krypton, we expect to learn a ton of interesting history about the home planet of Superman, as well as the people that inhabit it. However, there is already plenty of knowledge out there to learn about Kryptonians, so much so that we decided to collect it all in one place. The people and culture of Krypton are indeed interesting, and there is a lot to learn about the factors that led to its destruction, as well as the members of their race that made it to Earth.
Krypton has a unique history; in fact, it has several from the various interpretations over the years, each more interesting than the last. The canon of which Krypton history is accurate/current is always changing, and throughout the long history of Superman comics, there have been different depictions of his home planet ranging from dark and gritty to utopian and retro-futuristic. There are, however, a few “constants” that remain throughout, some of which we will cover in this list. Regardless of which is considered the “true” history of Krypton and its history among their many interpretations, we thought it’d be interesting to share 15 facts you never knew about the planet and its people.
15. SOCIAL STRUCTURE
Just because Krypton gave us Superman doesn’t mean everything about the planet was utopian and perfect. In fact, the social structure of Krypton was far from Utopian, bordering on dystopian. Though Kryptonians had advanced technology and made great strides with science, it came at the cost of certain personal freedoms. See, on Krypton, there were five guilds, each interdependent on each other for the society to work.
Sounds pretty good, right? Well, not really. For one thing, the labor guild was essentially comprised of slaves and if a person didn’t choose a guild to join, one was forcibly chosen for them. Though inter-guild mingling and relationships is allowed, it didn’t help change the fact that Krypton essentially had a totalitarian world government that forcefully categorized its citizens. Not cool, Krypton, not cool.
The religion of Krypton, like Krypton itself, has had a couple of different interpretations over the years, but their main deity has remained the same. Rao is the Kryptonian god of the sun, and thus their highest deity of creation. Rao was worshipped by all, though in some versions he simply served as a mythological figure. Though he was Krypton’s almighty deity, he was not the only one.
Each guild of Krypton also worshiped a different, additional deity pertaining to their specific purpose. For example, the science guild of Krypton worshiped Telle, the god of wisdom. Similarly, the military guild worshiped the god of strength, Mordo. In some versions of the DC universe, Rao is a real being, one who has interacted with Superman on several occasions.
13. NIGHTWING AND FLAMEBIRD
Speaking of deities, there are two others we didn’t mention, Nightwing and Flamebird. These Kryptonian gods were thought to be great dragons that acted as each others’ opposites, much like the Yin and Yang of Krypton. They have also inspired multiple superheroes in the DC Universe, the first being Jimmy Olsen and Superman.
When Superman and Jimmy Olsen visited the bottled city of Kandor, they used the names of Flamebird and Nightwing to conceal their identities as superheroes of the city. These names in turn inspired two Teen Titans, Dick Grayson and Bette Kane, when they were choosing their own superhero names. It might not be that connected to Kryptonians, but it is interesting to know their their religious figures live on through various superheroes in the DC universe.
12. CRYSTAL TECHNOLOGY
The crystal technology of Krypton is not always a consistent element in the comics, but because of its prominence in the Christopher Reeve films, we decided to include it. Superman’s fortress of solitude is, in some versions, depicted as being made of a crystal-like technology that is Kryptonian in origin. The fortress was formed by the crystal technology of Krypton, which was depicted in the 1978 Superman movie and in Smallville.
However, what makes this fact interesting is that, in most versions, there is never any crystal technology to be seen in the comics, at least not on Krypton. The crystal technology seen in and used to create the fortress of solitude is either non existent or not common on Krypton itself. Perhaps it was being developed by Jor-El for the use of quickly creating shelter on a planet, but otherwise, it was not a common technology amongst Kryptonians.
11. FAMILY HOUSES
As cringe-worthy as the “it’s not an ‘S'” line from Man of Steel was, it was still accurate to the comics. On Krypton, each family is known as a house, and each house has a crest that is worn by the head of the family. Superman’s “S” is not actually an “S,” it is the crest of his family, the house of El, it just happens to look like an Earth letter.
The houses of Krypton work similarly to that of families on Earth, but with a bit more of an established structure to them. As mentioned, there is clearly a head of each family, meaning that other members of the family adhere to their rules, though perhaps not to extremes. Interestingly enough, the House of El goes back as far as the tribal times of Krypton, and, through Superman and his son, it continues to this day.
10. GREEN LANTERN GUARDIAN
Krypton exploded and its people were lost in the destruction, we all know this. However, did you know that it was close to being saved? Krypton was part of sector 2813, the part of the universe that Tomar-Re was assigned to protect as a Green Lantern. Tomar-Re knew of Krypton’s unstable core and planned to save the Kryptonians from destruction.
However, Tomar-Re was unsuccessful in saving Krypton and its people due to a solar flare that blinded him on his way to save the planet. Tomar-Re considered the loss of Krypton and the Kryptonians to be his greatest failure, but the Guardians of OA told him that with the great loss of Krypton, the universe gained Superman, who has protected the universe with his great power. Tomar-Re still felt the loss of the Kryptonians, but was comforted by this sentiment.
9. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
The Phantom Zone is a mysterious and dangerous place; an interdimensional realm that can only be accessed with a special projector that served as a prison for Krypton’s greatest criminals, the worst of whom was General Zod. The Phantom Zone essentially served as a form of capital punishment in Kryptonian society, an alternative to other, arguably more extreme methods.
In fact, the Phantom Zone was once thought to be much more humane than the previous form of Kryptonian punishment, suspended animation. However, this isn’t exactly the case, since the prisoners of the Phantom Zone find the sensory derivative nature of the realm, in which time does not pass, to be worse than any form of torture. Now that we think about it, who thought being sent to another dimension where you cannot touch anything for all eternity was less cruel than being put in a frozen sleep!?
There are a number of ways in which the Kryptonian people live on. Their legacy lives on through Superman and Supergirl of course, and there’s also the city of Kandor, as well as a species related to the Kryptonians, the Daxamites. The result of Kryptonians breeding with a native species, the Daxamites are the descendants of an exploration program started by Krypton.
After Krypton sent out ships to explore the universe, it was invaded by a hostile takeover that ordered the ships back. One ship decided not to return, and the Kryptonians aboard found a new home on a planet they called Daxam. Generations of breeding with the native people created the race of the Daxamites, which have most Kryptonian powers, along with a weakness to lead.
7. THE LAST DAUGHTER
Superman is said to be the last son of Krypton, but apparently he wasn’t its only survivor. In various iterations of the DC universe, Jor-El and Lara-El apparently thought it was just as important to save… like, five of Superman’s pets. Of course, this has been mostly wiped from the canon, but there was one other survivor of Krypton that has remained in the canon: Supergirl.
However, Supergirl’s survival was a bit different to her cousin’s. Kal-El was sent to Earth as a baby, but Kara was a teenager. Due to an issue with her ship, Kara was caught in a state of suspended animation for the duration of her trip to Earth. Meaning, Supergirl is actually older than Superman, and thus is the only Kryptonian alive who remembers life on Krypton, a fact that is often looked over by fans.
Okay, we lied. There is one last tie to the old ways of Krypton, the bottled city of Kandor. A constant throughout most interpretations of the DC universe, Kandor is often depicted as the former capital of Krypton that disappeared years before the planet’s destruction. The reason for its disappearance was none other than Brainiac, who shrank and bottled the city to add it to his collection.
After obtaining Kandor from Brainiac’s clutches, Superman kept the city in his Fortress of Solitude while he figured out a way to restore it back to normal. Kandor acts as a piece of Superman’s lost world that he can visit and study as a means to connect to his origins, which is what the city served as until it was eventually restored to its regular size and the Kryptonians within it went to live on a new planet.
5. PREHISTORIC KRYPTONIANS
One of the reasons that Doomsday is truly the ultimate enemy of Superman is because his immense strength rivals and sometimes outclasses the Man of Steel’s. It might surprise some to learn that part of the reason that Doomsday is so comparable to Kryptonians because he is actually a Kryptonian himself… sort of. Doomsday is actually the result of experiments done on prehistoric Krypton in an attempt to create an indestructible creature.
When an alien scientist known as Bertron came to Krypton millions of years before it exploded, the harsh environment proved to be the perfect forge to create a perfect being. Bertron put a baby creature through the hell of Krypton’s environment and used cloning to speed up the evolutionary process so that the baby would come back stronger with each death on the planet’s surface, creating the Doomsday we all know and love.
4. JOR-EL WAS RIGHT
In nearly every interpretation of Krypton’s destruction, there was one scientist who knew the end was near. This scientist was none other than Jor-El, who used his knowledge to save the life of his son by sending him away from the doomed planet. Jor-El learned that the Krypton’s core was unstable, a discovery that he brought to the science council in an attempt to save the planet.
However, the science guild dismissed this theory as part of Jor-El’s own paranoia, meaning he was one of the only people who knew that Krypton was going to explore. This fact is that everyone might have known, but it’s still interesting to know that Krypton could have been saved, if not for its own people, who’s dismissal of Jor-El’s theory cost them their lives.
3. CANCELLED SPACE PROGRAM
Another factor that had doomed the people of Krypton to dying along with their planet was the fact that they had cancelled their space program. Jor-El was able to send his son to an inhabitable planet because he knew ahead of time that the end was near. Had the rest of Krypton been given easy access to space travel, they might have been able to save themselves as well.
The reason for Krypton’s lack of space travel was due to the fact that they used to be planet conquerers, a way of life that they eventually gave up in favor of focusing on their own planet and society. However, the more advanced their society got, the more isolationist it became, resulting in the abandonment of their space programs.
2. COLD AND EMOTIONLESS
Jor-El was a bit of a black sheep among his peers. For one thing, he was the only person who believed Krypton was on the path to destruction. Another thing that set Jor-El apart from the other members of the science guild of Krypton was that he was a warm and caring person, one who wasn’t afraid to express his feelings, the exact opposite of how scientists on Krypton acted.
The members of Krypton’s science guild often acted cold and emotionless, choosing to rely on logic and science as their guides in life. They also prefered to spend their time alone, avoiding being in the same space as each other outside of emergency situations. Jor-El was the outlier of the science guild both for his emotions and the fact that he grew close to and married Lara-El.
1. POWER VARIATION
Last, but not least, let’s talk about Kryptonian powers. We all know that Superman gets his powers from Earth’s yellow sun, which supercharges his body to make him super strong, super fast, indestructible, able to fly and a whole bunch of other things. Even the most novice of comic book readers knows this about Superman, and by extension Kryptonians.
However, one thing that people might not know about Kryptonians is that different types of solar radiation affect them differently. For example, blue sunlight gives Superman the power of “super vision,” which lets him give superpowers to others through an optic blast. But, solar radiation can also have negative affects, specifically that of a red sun, which weakens and takes away the powers of a Kryptonian.
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